Scrolling through my Instagram feed I realise China doesn´t look crowded at all, which is obviously not how most travellers experience it. If you are allergic to crowds or just like to get clean shots of impressive ancient structures try this:
Go hike the Great Wall with Beijing Hikers.
We did the Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall, which is two hours outside of Beijing. Our guide Michael was very knowledgable, as well as patient. Norwegians often underestimate their hiking abilities while the rest of you overestimate them. This hike was only 5 k, but the wall is steep and with temperatures hitting above 35 celsius the turtle wins the race. I went through three liters of water in three hours, but for photos like this it is all worth the struggle, and you get served the most delicious ten course meal afterwords.
Hit the sights early in the morning or late in the afternoon
You can have Tiananmen Square all to yourself 8.30 on a Monday morning. The Palace Museum was closed but the rest of the Forbidden City will be less crowded and very tranquil. A lot of Chinese tourists from rural areas will want to take photos with you, had the same experience in Uganda and Egypt, it is quite funny and made me feel very popular. All the tiny dragons on top of the buildings reminds me of Mulan.
No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing
Walk or bike the city walls of Xian in the rain. We had it all to ourselves and the grey adds an ancient touch to your photos. These red lanterns play a very calming Chinese tune all the way. In Norway we have respect for the weather, it`s called mountain intelligence. My hiking plans for the holy mountain of Huashan had to be cancelled due to the heavy rain, so I´ll have to come back.
Experience rush hour at least once
The crowds are part of the experience. Get on the metro at rush hour just once, I promise it`s not half as bad as the London tube (I should know, lived there for four years). Go to the Bund in Shanghai on a Sunday around twilight. People watching is fun and all of the lights mesmerizing.
What was your favorite China experience, please leave a comment!